Reporters Sans Frontières
|Founder||Robert Ménard, Rémy Loury, Jacques Molénat and Émilien Jubineau|
|Type||Nonprofit organization, non-governmental organization with consultant status at the United Nations|
(since July 2012)
|Christophe Deloire, Secretary General|
Pierre Haski, President RSF France
Mickael Rediske, President RSF Germany
Christian Mihr, CEO RSF Germany
Rubina Möhring, President RSF Austria
Alfonso Armada, President RSF Spain
Gérard Tschopp, President RSF Switzerland
Erik Halkjær, President, RSF Sweden
Jarmo Mäkelä, President, RSF Finland
|€6 million (RSF France)|
Reporters Without Borders (French : Reporters sans frontières (RSF)) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organization with the stated aim of safeguarding the right to freedom of information. It describes its advocacy as founded on the belief that everyone requires access to the news and information, in line with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that recognizes the right to receive and share information regardless of frontiers, along with other international rights charters. RSF has consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, and the International Organisation of the Francophonie.
RSF works on the ground in defence of individual journalists at risk and also at the highest levels of government and international forums to defend the right to freedom of expression and information. It provides daily briefings and press releases on threats to media freedom in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Farsi and Chinese and publishes an annual press freedom round up, the World Press Freedom Index, that measures the state of media freedom in 180 countries. The organization provides assistance to journalists at risk and training in digital and physical security, as well as campaigning to raise public awareness of abuse against journalists and to secure their safety and liberty. RSF lobbies governments and international bodies to adopt standards and legislation in support of media freedom and takes legal action in defence of journalists under threat.
To mark World Day Against Cyber-Censorship on 12 March, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) unveiled a list of 20 Digital Predators of Press Freedom and announced that it is unblocking access to a total 21 websites in the sixth year of its Operation Collateral Freedom.
RSF was founded in Montpellier, France, in 1985 by Robert Ménard, Rémy Loury, Jacques Molénat and Émilien Jubineau. It was registered as a non-profit organization in 1995.Ménard was RSF's first secretary general, succeeded by Jean-Francois Juillard. Christophe Deloire was appointed secretary-general in 2012.
RSF's head office is based in Paris. It has 13 regional and national offices, including Brussels, London, Washington, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro and Dakar, and a network of 146 correspondents.It employs 57 salaried staff in Paris and internationally. A board of governors, elected from RSF's members, approves the organization's policies. An International Council has oversight of the organization's activities and approves the accounts and budget.
In 2018, RSF launched the Information and Democracy Commission to introduce new guarantees for freedom of opinion and expression in the global space of information and communication. In a joint mission statement, the Commission's presidents, RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire and Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi identified a range of factors currently threatening that freedom. This includes: political control of the media, subjugation of news and information to private interests, the growing influence of corporate actors, online mass disinformation and the erosion of quality journalism.
This Commission published the International Declaration on Information and Democracy to state principles, define objectives and propose forms of governance for the global online space for information and communication.The Declaration emphasised that corporate entities with a structural function in the global space have duties, especially as regards political and ideological neutrality, pluralism and accountability. It called for recognition of the right to information that is diverse, independent and reliable in order to form opinions freely and participate fully in the democratic debate.
At the Paris Peace Forum in 2018, 12 countries launched a political process aimed at providing democratic guarantees for news and information and freedom of opinion, based on the principles set out in the Declaration.
RSF launched the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) in 2018 with its partners the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Agence France Presse (AFP) and the Global Editors Network (GEN). JTI defines indicators for trustworthy journalism and rewards compliance, bringing tangible benefits for all media outlets and supporting them in creating a healthy space for information. JTI distinguishes itself from similar initiatives by focusing on the process of journalism rather than content alone. Media outlets will be expected to comply with standards that include transparency of ownership, sources of revenue and proof of a range of professional safeguards.
RSF's defence of journalistic freedom includes international missions, the publication of country reports, training of journalists and public protests. Recent global advocacy and practical interventions have included: opening a centre for women journalists in Afghanistan in 2017, a creative protest with street-artist C215 in Strasbourg for Turkish journalists in detention, turning off the Eiffel Tower lights in tribute to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi and providing training to journalists and bloggers in Syria.In July 2018, RSF sent a mission to Saudi Arabia to call for the release of 30 journalists. The organization publishes a gallery of Predators of Press Freedom, highlighting the most egregious international violators of press freedom. It also maintains an online Press Freedom Barometer, monitoring the number of journalists, media workers and citizen journalists killed or imprisoned. Its programme Operation Collateral Freedom, launched in 2014, provides alternative access to censored websites by creating mirror sites: 22 sites have been unblocked in 12 countries, including Iran, China, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. RSF offers grants to journalists at risk and supports media workers in need of refuge and protection.
RSF's annual Press Freedom Prize, created in 1992, honours courageous and independent journalists who have faced threats or imprisonment for their work and who have challenged the abuse of power. TV5-Monde is a partner in the prize.[ citation needed ]
A Netizen Prize was introduced in 2010, in partnership with Google, recognizing individuals, including bloggers and cyber-dissidents, who have advanced freedom of information online through investigative reporting or other initiatives.[ citation needed ]
In 2018, RSF launched new categories for the Press Freedom Prize: courage, independence and impact.[ citation needed ]
Every few years, RSF also distributes Press freedom predator anti-awards.
This article may contain excessive or inappropriate references to self-published sources .(August 2020)
RSF issues a report annually.
RSF reported that 67 journalists were killed, while 879 were arrested and 38 were abducted in 2012.The number of journalists killed worldwide in 2014 was 66, two-thirds of whom were killed in war zones. The deadliest areas for the journalists in 2014 were Syria, Palestine, Ukraine, Iraq and Libya. The number of journalists convicted by their government rose to 178 in 2014, most of them in Egypt, Ukraine, China, Eritrea and Iran. RSF said that 110 journalists were killed in the course of their work in 2015. In 2016, RSF stated that, there were 348 imprisoned journalists and 52 hostages. Nearly two-thirds of imprisoned journalists were in Turkey, China, Syria, Egypt and Iran. The RSF's 2017 annual report stated that 65 journalists were killed, 326 journalists were imprisoned and 54 journalists were taken hostage during the year. RSF's 2018 report stated that over 80 journalists were killed, 348 were currently imprisoned, and another 60 were being held hostage.
In addition to its country, regional and thematic reports, RSF publishes a photography book 100 Photos for Press Freedom three times a year as a tool for advocacy and a fundraiser. It is a significant source of income for the organization, raising nearly a quarter of its funds in 2018:
On February 22, 2020, RSF issued a statement condemning the IRGC's call for journalists to be detained in Iran. IRGC intelligence has summoned some journalists[ clarification needed ] and banned any media activities. Reporters Without Borders described the IRGC's intelligence action as "arbitrary and illegal" and aimed at "preventing journalbourlists from being informed on social media."
Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Iran, RSF issued a statement on 6 March expressing concern over the health of imprisoned journalists.
On April 16, 2020, RSF wrote to two United Nations special rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression and Health, urging the United Nations to issue serious warnings to governments that restrict freedom of expression in the context of the coronavirus epidemic. The letter, signed by RSF Director Christian Mihr, stated: "Freedom of the press and access to information are more important than ever at the time of Corona's pandemic."
On April 21, 2020, The RSF based in Paris said that the pandemic had amplified and highlighted many crises and over shadowed freedom of the press. The high representative of the EU, Josep Borrell, stated that the pandemic should not be used to justify the limitation of democratic and civil freedoms and that the rule of law and international commitments should be respected. He said freedom of speech and access to information should not be limited and that measures taken against the pandemic should not be used to restrict human rights advocates, reporters, media staff and institutions of civil societies.
On June 25, 2020, RSF issued a statement entitled "Enforced online repentance, Iran's new method of repression". According to the report, the Revolutionary Guards summoned a number of journalists, writers and human rights activists and threatened to detain them, forcing them to express their regrets or apologies for publishing their comments in cyberspace in order to silence them. [ clarification needed ]
On June 25, 2020, Reporters Without Borders issued a statement entitled "Online Repentance, a New Method of Repression in the Islamic Republic of Iran." According to the report, the Revolutionary Guards summoned and threatened to detain a number of journalists, writers, and human rights activists, forcing them to express regret or apology for posting their views online to silence them. The organization condemned the pressure, threats and silence of social activists. [ clarification needed ]
RSF's budget for 2018 totalled €6.1m. Fifty per cent of the organization's income comes from public subsidy; 12 per cent from foundations; 24 per cent from the publication of photography books and 9 per cent from public donations. Foundations supporting RSF's work include the Adessium Foundation, the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and Pierre Omidyar.[ citation needed ]
RSF has been criticised for accepting funding from the National Endowment for Democracy in the US and the Center for a Free Cuba. In response, Secretary-general Robert Ménard stated that funding from NED totalled 0.92 per cent of RSF's budget and was used to support African journalists and their families.RSF stated that it ceased its relationship with the Center for a Free Cuba in 2008.
RSF has received multiple international awards honouring its achievements:
RSF was criticized for accepting the Dan David Prize, awarded by the Dan David Foundation in Israel. [ why? ]
This article may contain excessive or inappropriate references to self-published sources .(August 2020)
Reports published in the Council on Hemispheric Affairs and the US Newspaper Guild journal in 2005 criticized RSF for receiving funding from the US government and Cuba opposition groups, and for being part of a "neocons crusade" against the Castro regime. RSF denied the allegations of a political agenda, but confirmed that it had received a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy which is funded through the State Department and from the Centre for a Free Cuba.In 2006, online magazine CounterPunch said that RSF had falsely linked former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the murder of journalists and had failed to criticize his successor's crackdown on press freedom.
Lucie Morillon, RSF's then-Washington representative, confirmed in an interview on 29 April 2005 that the organization had a contract with US State Department's Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere, Otto Reich, who signed it in his capacity as a trustee for the Center for a Free Cuba, to inform Europeans about the repression of journalists in Cuba.CounterPunch criticised RSF for its connection with Reich who, it said, was a major figure in the Iran–Contra affair, "helped coordinate repeated attempts to oust Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez" and "oversaw the February 2004 coup against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide".
RSF has been critical of press freedom in Cuba, describing the Cuban government as "totalitarian".RSF's Cuba campaign, targeted at reducing tourism to Cuba, includes declarations on radio and television, full-page ads in Parisian dailies, posters, leafletting at airports, and an April 2003 occupation of the Cuban tourism office in Paris. A Paris court ( tribunal de grande instance ) ordered RSF to pay 6,000 Euros to the daughter and heir of Alberto Korda for non-compliance with a court order of 9 July 2003 banning it from using Korda's famous (and copyrighted) photograph of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in a beret, taken at the funeral of La Coubre victims. RSF said it was "relieved" it was not given a harsher sentence. Che's face had been superimposed with that of a May 1968 CRS anti-riot police agent, and the postcard handed out at Orly Airport in Paris to tourists boarding flights to Cuba.
RSF and Ménard were described as "ultra-reactionary" by the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, Granma .Tensions between Cuban authorities and RSF have been high, particularly after the imprisonment in 2003 of 75 dissidents, including 27 journalists, by the Cuban Government. Those imprisoned included Raúl Rivero and Óscar Elías Biscet. An article by John Cherian in the Indian magazine Frontline stated that RSF "is reputed to have strong links with Western intelligence agencies" and "Cuba has accused Robert Meynard [sic] the head of the group, of having CIA links".
RSF has denied that its campaigning on Cuba are related to payments it has received from anti-Castro organisations.In 2004, it received $50,000 from the Miami-based exile group, the Center for a Free Cuba, which was personally signed by the US State Department's Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere, Otto Reich. RSF has also received extensive funding from other institutions long critical of Fidel Castro's government, including the International Republican Institute.
In 2004, Reporters Without Borders released an annual report on Haiti, saying that a "climate of terror" existed in which attacks and threats persisted against journalists who were critical of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
An August 2006 article in CounterPunch said RSF had ignored similar attacks on journalists, including Pacifica Radio reporter Kevin Pina, under the Latortue government in 2005 and 2006.Pina himself said:
It was clear early on that RWB and Robert Menard were not acting as objective guardians of freedom of the press in Haiti but rather as central actors in what can only be described as a disinformation campaign against Aristide's government ... They provide false information and skewed reports to build internal opposition to governments seen as uncontrollable and unpalatable to Washington while softening the ground for their eventual removal by providing justification under the pretext of attacks on the freedom of the press.
Le Monde diplomatique criticized RSF's attitude towards Hugo Chávez's government in Venezuela, in particular during the 2002 coup attempt.RSF is said to have supported critical media outlets in Venezuela, and to have used an opposition advisor, María Sol Pérez-Schael, as its Caracas correspondent. In reply, Robert Ménard said that RSF had condemned the Venezuela media's support of the coup attempt.
In 2007 John Rosenthal argued that RSF showed a bias in favour of European countries.
The Observatoire de l'Action Humanitaire (Centre for Humanitarian Action) criticized RSF's lukewarm criticism of US forces for their shelling, in 2003, of Palestine Hotel, in Baghdad, Iraq, which killed two Reuters journalists. The family of one of the deceased journalists, Spanish citizen José Couso, refused to allow the Spain chapter of RSF to attach its name to a legal action led by the family against the US Army, voicing disgust at the fact that RSF interviewed US forces responsible for the shelling, but not the surviving journalists, and that RSF showed acquiescence to the US Army by thanking them for their "precious help".
According to the Observatoire, ever since Robert Ménard was replaced by Jean-François Julliard in September 2008, RSF has been concerned with violations of press freedom not only in "third-world dictatorships" but also in developed countries like France. Through widening its geographical scope, RWB aims at countering accusations of overly focusing on left-wing regimes unfriendly to the US.For example, RSF condemned the 35-year sentence received by American soldier Chelsea Manning, calling it "disproportionate" and arguing that it reveals how "vulnerable" whistleblowers are. In April 2019, RSF stated the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could "set a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistleblowers, and other journalistic sources that the US may wish to pursue in the future."
UNESCO, who initially had granted patronage to the first International Online Free Expression Day to be held on 12 March 2008, withdrew its patronage on the day of the event giving as reasons that RWB "published material concerning a number of UNESCO's Member States, which UNESCO had not been informed of and could not endorse" and that "UNESCO's logo was placed in such a way as to indicate the Organization's support of the information presented." RWB responded in a press release that "UNESCO has withdrawn its support to the promotion of this campaign because several of the nations which are part of the list of Internet Enemies published by the nongovernmental organization have directly put pressure to achieve it."
A journalist is an individual trained to collect/gather information in form of text, audio or pictures, processes them to a news-worthy form and disseminates it to the public. The act or process mainly done by the journalist is called journalism.
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state; its preservation may be sought through constitution or other legal protection and security.
In 2020, Reporters Without Borders ranked Iran 173 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index. This index lists countries from 1 to 180 based on the level of freedom journalists have to do their job.
Can Dündar is a Turkish journalist, columnist and documentarian. Editor-in-chief of center-left Cumhuriyet newspaper until August 2016, he was arrested in November 2015 after his newspaper published footage showing the State Intelligence MİT sending weapons to Syrian Islamist fighters.
Censorship in Cuba is the topic of accusations put forward by several foreign groups and organizations. The accusations let the European Union to imposing sanctions from 2003 to 2008 as well as statements of protest from groups, governments, and noted individuals.
The Press Freedom Index is an annual ranking of countries compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders since 2002 based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to reflect the degree of freedom that journalists, news organisations, and netizens have in each country, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom. Reporters Without Borders is careful to note that the index only deals with press freedom and does not measure the quality of journalism, nor does it look at human rights violations in general.
The working conditions of journalists in Algeria have evolved since the 1962 independence. After 1990, the Code of Press was suppressed, allowing for greater freedom of press. However, with the civil war in the 1990s, more than 70 journalists were assassinated by Terrorists. Sixty journalists were killed between 1993 and 1998 in Algeria.
Robert Ménard is a French politician and former journalist serving as Mayor of Béziers since 2014. A founder of the Paris-based international non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders, he was its general-secretary from 1985 to 2008. He subsequently participated in the launch of the information website Boulevard Voltaire in 2012. An Independent since 1981, Ménard joined the Les Amoureux de la France alliance in 2017.
The mass media in Syria consists primarily of television, radio, Internet, film and print. The national language of Syria is Arabic but some publications and broadcasts are also available in English and French. While television is the most popular medium in Syria, the Internet has become a widely utilized vehicle to disseminate content. Transcending all available media, the government seeks to control what Syrians see by restricting coverage from outside sources. Publications and broadcasts are monitored by members of the government. Syria is ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. There were 28 journalists killed in combat in 2012.
Moussa Kaka is a Nigerien radio journalist and director of Maradi based station Saraounia FM, as well as a correspondent for France's Radio France International. He has twice been arrested by the government of President Mamadou Tandja over his reporting. He is at the center of a 2008 court case by the Nigerien government over his 2007 interviews of Movement of Nigeriens for Justice (MNJ) rebels.
World Day Against Cyber Censorship is an online event held each year on March 12 to rally support for a single, unrestricted Internet that is accessible to all and to draw attention to the ways that governments around the world are deterring and censoring free speech online. The day was first observed on 12 March 2008 at the request of Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International. A letter written by Jean-François Julliard, Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders, and Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International, was sent to the Chief Executive Officers of Google, Yahoo!, Inc., and Microsoft Corporation to request observation of the day. The annual event is symbolized by a logo created by Reporters Without Borders consisting of a computer mouse breaking free from a chain.
Manuel Vázquez Portal is a Cuban poet, writer and journalist known for his 2003 imprisonment.
Ako Kurdnasab was a Kurdish journalist for the weekly Kurdish journal Krafto. Krafto, which is based in Sanandaj, the capital of the Kurdistan province of Iran, was closed by the authorities last year.
Ukraine was in 96th place out of 180 countries listed in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. It returned to top 100 of this list for the first time since 2009.
This list of Internet censorship and surveillance by country provides information on the types and levels of Internet censorship and surveillance that is occurring in countries around the world.
Guillermo Espinosa Rodríguez is a Cuban nurse, journalist, blogger and human rights activist. In 2006 he was dismissed from his job with the public health service and arrested after reporting on an outbreak of dengue fever. Since then he has been repeatedly arrested for his human rights activities.
Mazen Darwish is a Syrian lawyer and free speech advocate. He is the president of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. News organizations including Reuters and the Associated Press have described him as one of Syria's most prominent activists. He was imprisoned in Syria from 2012 until his release in August 2015.
Freedom of the press in Djibouti is not specifically mentioned by the country's constitution. However, Article 15 of the Constitution of Djibouti] does mention an individual's right to express their opinion "...by word, pen, or image..." and notes that "these rights may be limited by prescriptions in the law and in respect for the honour of others."
Press freedom is an ongoing issue in Cuba. The country has ranked low on the Press Freedom Index, a list published by Reporters Without Borders which reflects the degree of freedom that journalists, news organisations, and netizens have in a country. Cuba has been ranked among the index's “least free" countries for a decade. In 2016, Amnesty International reported that the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in December 2014 "renewed hope for an end to the US economic embargo, which has had a direct impact on the human rights of ordinary Cubans."
Press freedom predator is an anti-award distributed every few years by Reporters Without Borders. It is attributed to heads of state or groups who are deemed to have a negative effect on press freedom.
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